An investigation is under way after a PSNI operation uncovered suspected illegal animal slaughter and meat operations in County Armagh yesterday afternoon.

The operations were discovered following searches by police in Newry and Mourne at properties in the village of Forkhill and one in Bessbrook in the South Armagh area.

Police said: “A suspected illegal animal slaughter and meat cutting operation was discovered. A number of items have been seized for examination.”

The PSNI stated enquiries into this matter are continuing with partner agencies. Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Newry on 0845 600 8000.

The Ulster Framers Union (UFU) has welcomed the investigation. Speaking on radio this morning UFU President Harry Sinclair said: “At this stage we don’t know the scale of this operation, how much stock has actually gone through it.”

He noted “until the investigation is completed, it will be difficult to say just what has been happening”. Sinclair highlighted farmers have been urging the police to take action against rural crime for some time.

“It’s good now to see action taking place on the ground,” Sinclair said.

He outlined that staff from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Food Standards Agency and Newry and Mourne council were involved in the co-ordinated search operation.

“That is what is needed to stamp it out – this cross-departmental, cross-body approach and we welcome that,” he stressed.

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